Audubon offers Master Naturalist training program

Are you interested in expanding your knowledge of the habitats, plants, animals and natural history of Connecticut? Would you like to experience the rewards of sharing that knowledge and teaching others about the stewardship of Connecticut’s natural resources? If so, Connecticut Audubon Society’s Master Naturalist Training Program may be for you.

Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Fairfield, 2325 Burr Street, Fairfield will offer a Master Naturalist Training Program Tuesdays, Sept. 15-Nov. 17, from 10-2.

Similar to Master Gardener certification, Master Naturalist certification is offered by different organizations around the country. Training programs prepare people of all experience levels to become naturalists in their communities and to contribute to environmental education and conservation efforts through volunteer service.

The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Master Naturalist Program at the Center at Fairfield provides 40 hours of classroom and field training in four-hour sessions over 10 weeks. Classes are taught by field experts including: Fairfield Ecologist/Landscape Architect Bill Kenny, and Director of Environmental Studies at Fairfield University James E. Biardi, Ph.D. All sessions will include a mix of indoor classroom presentations and outdoor, hands-on field experiences.

At the conclusion of the training, graduates receive certificates and apply their knowledge and individual skills in volunteer capacities to help maintain and support education activities and operations at the Center and its adjoining Larsen Sanctuary, as well as in their own communities. “It was one of the best courses I have taken in my lifetime,” says Meral Prewitt of Stratford, a graduate of the spring 2015 training class. “Not only did I learn more about nature and my surroundings, but I met a group of outstanding individuals who have like passions.”

Classes meet Tuesdays, Sept. 15-Nov. 17, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration deadline is Sept. 8. Program fee: $195 CAS members; $250 nonmembers, (includes a CAS membership). As part of the tuition, participants must be able to volunteer 40 hours within the year following the training. To complete the program, please expect to attend every class. If a session is missed, it may be possible to arrange a make-up class with the instructor.

Information about the Master Naturalist Training Program, including the application, is available at ctaudubon.org or by calling The Connecticut Audubon Society, 203-259-6305, ext. 109. For a complete listing of upcoming programs and special events, visit Connecticut Audubon Society’s website at ctaudubon.org.

Hank Gruner, vice president of programming, Connecticut Science Center, instructs a Spring 2015 Master Naturalist class in Herpetology at Connecticut Audubon Society’s Center at Fairfield.

Hank Gruner, vice president of programming, Connecticut Science Center, instructs a Spring 2015 Master Naturalist class in Herpetology at Connecticut Audubon Society’s Center at Fairfield.

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